Tank covers are an integral part of an aquarium. Their main purpose is to keep Fishes inside the aquarium by not letting them jump out.

Yes, Fishes do jump. Probably not all, but most do. While there are fat Fishes who cannot jump their way out of the tank, such as Goldfishes, Pufferfishes, and Frogmouth Catfishes, there are plenty of others who are very good jumpers, such as Arowanas, Snakeheads, Bichirs, Flagtails, African Tigerfishes, Payaras, Wolf Fishes, Carps, Swordtails, Mollies, and so much more.

Illustration by EUGENE CUBILLO

In fact, some Fishes whom you might not think of as good jumpers, such as Angelfishes, Neon Tetras, Corydoras Catfishes, Fighting Fishes, Frontosa Cichlids, Datnioides, and Tigerfishes, accidentally find their way to the floor, too. Mind-boggling, you may say, but it does happen.


As someone who has been caring for aquatic animals for a long time, I will always assume that all Fishes jump, period. This is why I always keep my tanks covered. Fishes do things that are within their nature, and jumping is something they are expected to do.

So, if you find a Fish on the floor one day because they had jumped out of the tank, you have no one to blame but yourself. You cannot teach a Fish not to jump; you should know that it is your responsibility to keep the tank covered.

Let us just be responsible and keep the aquarium well-covered.


Personally, I feel the best tank covers are glass panels. They are flat and take up little space on top of the aquarium. They also protect electronic gadgets like aquarium lights from getting wet due to water splashes created by the aquarium filter. Most importantly, they keep Fishes from jumping out the tank.

In fact, aquarium manufacturers think this way as well because the cover is part of the aquarium when you purchase one. However, the glass covers supplied by tank manufacturers are simply inadequate. Often, they are too narrow, too thin, and too light to effectively keep our Fishes inside the tank.


There are many aquarium manufacturers in the Philippines, but I do not understand why they all create substandard glass covers. These covers won’t do the job for the following reasons.


While aquarium manufacturers will include the tank covers as part of the purchase, they are normally undersized.

Sometimes, only half of the tank is covered and the other half is left open. Some manufacturers reason they deliberately make narrow tank covers to leave space where you can set up your overhead filter. In truth, even if you affix an overhead filter, you are still left with at least 2 inches of uncovered area where Fishes can easily jump out.


Another concern with the tank covers that normally comes with our aquarium purchase is that they are often too thin and too light.

At a mere 1⁄8 inch in thickness, these glass covers are too light to effectively keep bigger Fishes in the tank. If you keep medium or large Fishes, they can easily lift the glass covers when they jump. The covers are simply too light to keep 6-inch Fishes inside the tank.


In some cases, since the glass covers are too thin and fragile, Fishes can break them as they jump. Not only do they escape but they risk getting injured, too.

The humans caring for them are also in danger of getting by from the broken glass cover if this happens.



When buying a tank, suggest to the maker that you are not getting the glass cover that comes with it, but rather offer to pay more by including a more adequate glass cover.


Suggest a dimension that will fit snugly onto the top of your tank at a thickness of 1⁄4 inch.

This should be sturdy and heavy enough for most Fishes — of course, we are just talking about average Fishes, not monster Fishes over 2 feet in length.


Plan out the top part of your tank. If you are using an overhead filter, provide space to accommodate the filter, and measure the open space that needs to be covered.

Be aware of areas that need to be left open for wires and filter pipes. Figure out a way to cover these small areas. Sometimes, these small holes offer escape routes to some fishes.

Always remember a tank that is 95% covered is not fully covered. That 5% you leave off might give you some problems. So, better seal them as well.


The importance of a good tank cover is oftentimes ignored because of the excitement of putting a Fish into the aquarium.

I have encountered many who set up their tanks and add Fishes, only to realize that their aquarium isn’t adequately covered. They then scrounge around the house for things to use just to cover the gap where their Fishes can jump out. They use all sorts of things, such as books, plywood, nets, tiles, and screen mesh, all of which would not work. Stop-gap measures will not work; having an adequate tank cover is your only solution.

Remember that it is your responsibility to provide an adequate tank cover to fully cover the top and prevent your Fishes from jumping out. You are the only one who can provide this. Without that cover, you are putting these aquatic creatures at risk — and who do you have to blame when you find a Fish on the floor?